One of the biggest fears coaches have – the fear of taking their clients deep. There’s this sense that deep down at the root of a client’s problems is fear, trauma, or pain so big you won’t know what to do. You’re afraid you’ll do damage. Afraid you’ll be clumsy. Afraid that you find yourself there and lacking and that it will rattle your coaching confidence to the very core.
This fear leads to a host of problems:
- You stay on the surface where it’s safe.
- You think of challenging questions, but you don’t ask them.
- You doubt yourself when you coach.
- You don’t create the space for your clients to feel all of their pain and fear.
- You never do the kind of deep work you see other great coaches do.
So how do you address this?
How do you know what to say? What to do?
How do you prepare for something as a coach that’s unpredictable and a little scary?
While I don’t have all the answers, let me share what I’ve learned so far.
1. Fucking Go Deep
One of the reasons I’m such a stand for coaches having coaches is that a great coach will take you deep. They’ll guide you to feel your feelings, face your fears, and confront what you’ve been avoiding.
But having a great coach is only half of the equation. The other half is bringing it to that coach. Your messiness, your darkness, your fears, your insecurities.
Over the last several years, I’ve had a few coaches that I brought all of myself too. Just this morning, I called my previous coach in tears over my recent separation. I went there with him—ugly crying on the phone, sharing my despairing and obsessive thoughts, revealing my fears.
He held me in that space with love and kindness. I went there and felt him handle it and keep me. It wasn’t perfect. He didn’t say everything right or that I wanted him to say, but I went there and felt what it was like to be held while I was in a bit of a mess.
It was a reminder to me of how little you really have to do when a client is in a mess. You slow down, you love them, you trust yourself, you don’t try to fix them or give them advice.
If you’re unwilling to go there with your coach, your clients will feel that, and they’ll hold back.
2. Coach without a net
The problem with most coach training is that it trains you for the standard scenario.
How are you today?
What’s the coaching request?
Great, let’s talk about your lack of accountability?
Great, let’s make a plan for how you’ll answer your email.
See you next week.
You need training that will push you beyond the standard scenario. You need training that pushes you beyond your comfort zone. Training that works in the realm of the unexpected beyond what’s predictable.
It’s part of why we made the structure of the dojo so light and the emphasis on feedback so heavy. We want you to feel like you’re coaching without a net.
Because when your client comes on the call in tears, wrapped in fear, and spiraling out, it will feel like you don’t have a net. And in those moments, they’ll only go as deep as you feel safe with yourself.
And there are only two ways to get that. One is years of experience, combined with doing your own deep work. The other is intentionally training yourself to coach without a net.
Those moments with your client. The moments where they’re desperate, scared, excited, and worried all at once. Those moments where they’re caught deep within the webs of their old stories and beliefs are some of the most powerful and most challenging moments of all.
You’re with them in a place that they let almost no one see. Sometimes not even the people they’ve lived with and been married to for a decade or more.
It’s a sacred space. One that provides an incredible opportunity to pour love on their hearts and shift their beliefs.
It’s not what coaching is all about, but it is something unique being a coach gives you access to.
But only if you have the courage and the experience to be there with them.
Are you ready to become the kind of coach that can go there?
Train with me alongside some of the world’s best coaches and others that are on their way. Join us for the 2020 Coaching Dojo.